Scientific Objectives

The lithosphere-atmosphere-ionosphere coupling is a complex subject involving many physical effects and interactions that occur from the Earth surface up to the magnetosphere. The investigation of such coupling mechanisms - and in particular of the, partially unknown, behavior of the iono-magnetosphere transition region - is of fundamental importance for Earth remote sensing, monitoring of the near-Earth electromagnetic environment and studying of natural hazards. A great part of these effects is caused by natural non-seismic and anthropogenic electromagnetic emissions, but of particular relevance are the electromagnetic disturbances associated with the seismic activity that can produce ionospheric perturbations as well as the precipitation of particles from the Van Allen belts, observed before, during and after earthquakes of medium and strong magnitude. All of these phenomena must be distinguished from those induced by sources external to the geomagnetic cavity and by atmospheric events. In fact, an important role in controlling the dynamic of the topside ionosphere is played by the Sun – that generates (regular and irregular) variations of the lithosphere-ionosphere-magnetosphere parameters by impulsive events as solar Coronal Mass Ejections and Solar Flares – as well as by tropospheric activity (lightning, TLE, etc.)